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FOT takes MNR to task on Temagami FMP
Tuesday, 15 July 2008 00:00
Friends of Temagami has filed an application with the Ministry of Natural Resources to proceed to Issue Resolution regarding the 2009-2019 Temagami Forest Management Plan. Issue Resolution is a process outlined in Ontario’s Forest Management Planning Manual where groups or individuals who are concerned with aspects of a FMP may proceed through a formal process in an attempt to come to a resolution. Four groups have filed Issue Resolution applications for this plan. This may be a record, and indicates broad public dissatisfaction with the current plan. 

FOT filed the application in regards to five outstanding issues:

1. The MNR’s unwillingness to set road density targets. The MNR claims that it lacks, “accurate and up-to-date mapping,” and therefore should be exempt from setting specific targets. Targets are set as a matter of course in most Ontario forest management units.

2. The continued presence of large clearcuts (over 260 ha.) in Temagami. Considering Temagami’s recreational and wilderness values, large clearcuts have no place in Temagami.

3. Logging in the Spirit Forest, adjacent to Spirit Rock and the Obabika River Provincial Park. FoT is concerned that operations in the area may damage Spirit Rock. Hiking trails weave throughout the area, which is a popular place for native and non-native spiritual ceremonies. Furthermore, MNR claims that the old growth spruce and jack pine there is very rare in Temagami and therefore must be logged. Fot feels that when particular age-classes of forest are rare, they should be preserved.

4. MNR’s unwillingness to comply with federal endangered species legislation.

5. Cuts to Area of Concern prescriptions (i.e. reserves and modified reserves surrounding sensitive values). First, we oppose the third cut in five years to the reserve on heritage trails, from 120 m in 2004 to just 30 m in 2009. Second, we oppose the creation of “secondary” canoe routes, which will receive half the protection they currently enjoy. And finally, we oppose limiting granting viewpoint status to the five lookouts identified in the Temagami Land Use Plan–we propose that twelve other popular lookouts, including Ferguson Mountain and the Anima Nipissing Fire Tower, receive similar protection. The MNR’s official spin is that these decreases are being implemented to “protect” the values, however, MNR staff have admitted publicly that the real reason is pressure from the forest industry.

These issues have been raised by the FOT throughout the FMP process, and the MNR has failed to make serious efforts to address them. Issue Resolution proceeds through a number of steps, through the Plan Author, the District Manager, and the Regional Manager. If the issues are not resolved, the matter may be sent to the Minister of the Environment, who will consider whether to “bump up” the issue to an Environmental Assessment.